Colonoscopy Screening for Preventing and Detecting Colon Cancer
More than 50,000 men and women in the U.S. die annually from colorectal cancer, making it the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths. Yet, it’s also one of the most preventable cancers.
A colonoscopy screening can not only catch colon cancer early – when it is most treatable – but a colonoscopy can also stop colon cancer before it develops by finding and removing pre-cancerous polyps.
Colonoscopy Procedure at UH
University Hospitals offers convenient access to colonoscopy services at locations throughout Northeast Ohio. Our physicians are highly trained in both detecting the presence of polyps or other abnormalities and at diagnosing colorectal cancer. If colon cancer is found, our patients have access to state-of-the-art treatment options and the full expertise of our colorectal cancer team.
Who Should Get a Colonoscopy
You should have a colonoscopy screening if:
- You are a man or woman age 45 or older with no risk factors
- You are a man or woman age 40 with a first-degree relative who has been diagnosed with colorectal cancer
- You have a personal history of colorectal polyps, blood in your stool, abdominal pain or other symptoms
What is a Colonoscopy?
- What Happens During a Colonoscopy Test?
During a colonoscopy test, your doctor examines the inner lining of the colon using a thin flexible tube called a colonoscope, which is inserted into the colon through the rectum. A small camera mounted to the end of the colonoscope takes pictures, allowing the doctor to see any colon polyps or areas of inflammation. Usually, the doctor will remove polyps that are found during the procedure using tiny surgical instruments designed for this purpose.
- Colonoscopy: What to Expect - Video
- Before and After the Colonoscopy Procedure
Prior to the colonoscopy procedure, you will be given IV medications that will help you relax. You may experience mild discomfort during the colonoscopy procedure but it should not be painful. The colonoscopy test takes about 30-45 minutes, after which you will be taken into a room to recover. Typically, you are able to go home one to two hours after the colonoscopy procedure is completed.
- Colonoscopy Test Results and Follow-Up
If no polyps or suspicious areas are found during the initial colonoscopy test, your next colonoscopy screening may not be needed until 10 or more years later. If there are abnormal findings such as polyps, repeat colonoscopy screenings may need to occur more often.
If polyps are found and removed during the colonoscopy screening, they will be sent to a lab for testing. If they are found to be non-cancerous or pre-cancerous, your doctor will determine a screening schedule for you based on the number of polyps and their characteristics, your risk factors and your family history. It may be recommended that you be screened again in three to five years.
If colorectal cancer is found, laboratory tests will determine the stage or extent of the cancer. Your treatment options will largely depend on that stage. When colon cancer is found in the earliest stages, it has a 90 percent survival rate.
- Other Screening Options
Although colonoscopy is considered the gold standard Colon Cancer Screenings for colon cancer screening, there are other screening tests available to people for whom a colonoscopy may not be appropriate.
Mother of 3 is Cancer-Free Thanks to Life-Saving Colonoscopy and Cancer Treatment
When 44-year-old Jenni Kozak began having colorectal pain, she didn't think it would be something as serious as cancer. But when she went to see University Hospitals gastroenterologist Michael Koehler, MD, he recommended a colonoscopy, which revealed that the mother of three had colorectal cancer. Thanks to timely diagnosis, surgery and treatment at UH, Jenni had an optimal outcome and is now cancer-free.
For more information about colon cancer, attend one of our colon cancer awareness month health talks: